Sandown’s Got Talent

We’ve previously mentioned the unique calm feeling that pervades a race track on the early morning of a big meet. Its an eerie quiet scene as drivers and mechanics prepare and check everything, then check it again, on their cars before braving it on the track.

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Cars are scrutinised and thoroughly inspected by race organisers.

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Dust covers are taken off gleaming bodywork.

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Tyres are pumped.

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Legends of Motorsport rolled out into the morning light.

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There is a gentle hum of tinkering in the pit garages.

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With not too many people around, this is the best time to take the opportunity to get up close to these machines…

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of all styles and ages.

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Then the action begins.

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All eyes are on track.

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The spectacle; the very best sports, racing and touring cars from yesteryear on track over two days of competition at VHRR’s Big Bad Historic Sandown.

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Forty events and 400 Historic race cars all adding to the electric atmosphere.

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But it isn’t just relics from the past and old cars. A new field of cars competed this year adding a modern twist to this popular event.

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The close field of racing in the Sports Sedans class entertained the crowd. Ron Moller’s Chevrolet Camaro was one of the quickest in the field, lapping about three seconds quicker than the rest. Lap times slightly above 1:15 for this American beast.

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This newly completed 2004 BMW M3 screamed down the Sandown straight. Piloted by Shane Woodman, it features a set-back 700HP chev engine, 9″ diff mated to 6 speed holinger. This thing sounded like nothing we’ve heard before.

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You wouldn’t want to mess with this Hyundai Excel- a marque and model not usually associated with circuit racing.

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This 1975 Toyota Corolla out there battling with bigger brutes in this exciting category.

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Groups Q and R also contained exciting racing- Number 49 Hardman, 45 Cheetah and 51 Cheetah battle three-a-breast on the long straight.

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Aussies icons fought it out cleanly in group NC- one of the most popular categories in historic motor racing.

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One of our favourites was this 2002 in Group NC in the 1501cc- 2000cc class.

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You name a car- it was out on the track at Sandown.

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It’s no great surprise that our passion here at Driven Threads is the Group A and C class cars. Specifically these are the cars which satisfy the eligibility requirements for Australian touring cars and promulgated by CAMS from 1973 to 1984 (Group C) and from 1984 to 1992 (Group A).

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Added to that, the cars which now race in the A and C category are not replicas, they are the actual cars.  Many of them still carrying the names of sponsors and drivers who competed in that magnificent period of Australian motor sport.

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The Dummy Grid is always filled with excitement. Retro liveries and vintage team regalia.

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The quickest car in this illustrious field, was the ex- Colin Bond Caltex Sierra and the sister car to the one that finished 3rd outright at Bathurst in 1988 with Australian F1 champ Alan Jones as co-driver. This car is in fact the last RS500 Sierra ever built.

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The heart of this fiery beast is a fettled Cosworth 16 valve YB engine with a Garrett To4 turbo (on the RS500 homologation model) or a smaller Garrett T3 (on the RS5000 roadcar). These race cars would easily make over 600hp in qualifying trim and hailed the real start of the “turbo dominance era” that would eventually see the whole dynamic of the motorsport change from Group A to the V8 Supercar formula that exists now. Terry Lawlor piloted the Sierra to win Race 2 with a fastest lap time of 1:17.1170.

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This would make a good advertisement for something. Insurance?
David Holc driving the Holden Walkinshaw VL was cosistently the quickest in the over 3000cc class. Just ahead of Rod Markland in the GIO R32 Skyline.

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The Nissan GTR R32 GIO #4 originally driven by Gibbs and Onslow was an awesome sight. Apart from being one of just five Group A BNR32s ever built by Gibson Motorsport (chassis #4), this was the only car to be sold to a private team outside of the factory-backed racing programme. This car has never been restored.
During the 18 months the car was campaigned, it proved to be a consistent performer, finishing third outright at Bathurst and winning the Australian Endurance Championship in 1991. Appropriately, this particular car also was the winner of the 1991 Sandown 500 race. The noise of a race-prepped RB26 approaching is a glorious sound.

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Notable among the entries was David Towe’s JPS BMW – the first M3 to win a touring car race in Australia.

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We’ve featured this JPS BMW many times before. And we probably will many more. Its a beautiful car that you never get tired of taking a closer look at.

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The ex-Brock Mobil 1 M3 was not seen much on track, unfortunately it was later towed in with some mechanical issues.

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Mike Roddy’s XJS always looks and sounds amazing. Built by TWR over the winter of 1983/4, this is one of the four genuine ‘lightweight’ chassis constructed by TWR to win the 1984 European Touring Car Championships. In its 1984 campaign it experienced much success including at the Spa 24 Hours, the Donnington 500 mile and the Bathurst 1000 in Australia.

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Right at home in the 2001-3000cc field is Richard Prince’s ex-Laurence Hazelton Volvo 240T. We’re hugely excited about Volvo’s return to Australian touring cars in 2014.

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Bryan Sala in the Ford Sierra RS500 held the quickest lap time in Race 3 with a 1:20.3348 in the 2001-3000cc field.

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The colours of Group A and C are photogenic at any distance.

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Nissan’s in their natural habitat. The Gibson Motorsport Bluebird driven by Adam Workman narrowly behind the HR31 Skyline HR31 with Mark Eddy behind the wheel.

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Muscle cars screamed.

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Generations of Porsche battled against each other.

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The Formula 5000’s roared.

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The surrounding car parks were literally covered in interesting cars. Its impossible to see everything at events like this.

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Perched up on a hill, this Corvette was infact the Official pace car of the 62nd annual Indianapolis 500 mile race on the 28th May 1978.

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One of the stand-out displays was the plethora of Ferrari’s on show near the entrance.

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Our eyes were delighted with this creation. The Ferrari 365 GTB/4, better known by the unofficial name Ferrari Daytona, was produced from 1968 to 1973. It was first introduced to the public at the Paris Auto Salon in 1968.

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The scene was pretty spectacular. Getting up close to automotive porn such as this is pretty awe-inspiring.

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Battered in everyday patina and use was this original-looking Dino. It was full of character. It was a shame we couldn’t see the DOHC V6 under the hood. The Dino Ferrari was produced from 1969–1974 with 3,761 examples made.

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Jaw dropping. The F40 is every young boy’s dream machine.

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It was indeed a car park to die for.

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Just sublime.

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The old cliche. Ferrari’s go faster in red.

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Big Bad Sandown seems to get better every year. Who know what cars we will see in future years? With the participation of more modern cars there is now even more variety. There is truly something for all motor heads to enjoy.

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We hope you have enjoyed the colour and excitment of Brilliant Big Bad Sandown 2013.

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Props go to the VHRR who manage and organise this sizzling event on the annual Motorsport Calendar.


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If you enjoyed our coverage please support us by purchasing a tee or sticker. Better still why not like us on Facebook or share this post with your mates. Until next time…

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